The new VR One Plus headset from Zeiss builds upon their previous model, the VR One, by adding a few key features to make it even more user-friendly at an affordable price. We have been covering the VR craze incessantly in the past few months. It was one of the hot topics at NAB, and as we have seen, many filmmakers are already embracing the new technology. What will undoubtedly determine whether VR goes the way of 3D, however, is the ease of access that consumers and audiences require to view the content. True, you can just tap or click your way around a Facebook VR video environment, but what really makes this content come to life is the experience through a headset of some kind. The Zeiss VR One Plus falls in the middle of the range between Google Cardboard and OCULUS Rift, and at only $129, this improved version delivers some nice features. Let’s take a look. New Features of the VR One Plus The foam that comes in contact with your face is now removable. While this may seem like a small improvement, Zeiss are showing the possibilities of VR beyond just entertainment. They recently showcased a cooperation with Deutsche Bahn, in which they demonstrate how VR can be used for recruitment purposes. If VR is going to become as commonplace as we think it is, then the hygienic reasons behind removable and exchangeable face foam become fairly obvious. The headstrap is also removable. Most VR examples we have seen in the last months have been immersive movies or games, for which a having the headset strapped to your face seems like the most logical setup. However, there are other applications — such as certain events — where the aim is a more communal experience. In these situations, it is useful to have a removable headstrap to facilitate handing over the goggles from person to person. A new Universal Smartphone Tray. The original VR One already had an advantage over the similarly priced OCULUS/Samsung Gear VR in that it accepted phones from brands other than just Samsung. However, you needed a special tray for whatever phone model you were using. The VR One Plus solves this by introducing a single universal phone tray that accepts phones anywhere between 4.7 and 5.5 inches, or between the size of an iPhone 6 and iPhone 6S. You can now get access to the optics to clean them by removing part of the cover. So, while not offering revolutionary features, the VR One Plus is certainly a more polished version of its predecessor, offering the same premium optics and comfort. VR is still very new tech, and what we are seeing is manufacturers slowly working out the kinks to make sure this is technology that actually ends up sticking around.Read more
Edelkrone has come up with a very clever quick release system for camera accessories and grip. The QuickRelease ONE attaches to your small camera and offers a lever based system that attaches to any 1/4″ 20 thread in seconds. What’s more universal than a 1/4″ 20 thread in filmmaking? Pretty much every tripod plate, piece of grip or accessory adheres to the format. The Edelkrone QuickRelease ONE takes advantage of the wide spread use of a single-sized thread, mounting to the existing point of your small DSLR or mirrorless camera and simply clamping down to any 1/4″ 20 thread via quick release lever. The result is a migration from any piece of camera equipment to another in a matter of seconds. I have a similar system by using camera grip that uses the same sized plate and adaptors, but Edelkrones offering negates the need to invest in updating all pieces of camera kit to a single plate. What is doesn’t do (that camera plates can offer) is provide two points of contact to the base of a camera and its plate. Users of conventional & larger sized cameras will miss this, plus it’s also likely one of the reasons why the Edelkrone QuickRelease ONE has a maximum payload of 3kg. Users of DSLRs and mirrorless cameras however will only be familiar with single point of contact threads therefore won’t be affected. We’re very keen to check out the Edelkrone QuickRelease ONE first hand and test the rigidity versus a standard screw/thread fitment. It will no doubt save a huge amount of time on set with small camera setups.Read more
The Varavon Birdycam 2 is the new version of Varavon’s affordable brushless gimbal camera stabiliser. It offers great ergonomics at a very low pricepoint. Varavon has a history of producing well made and well thought through products for videographers and DSLR shooters. We’ve recently looked at their new Wirecam that used a portion of their gimbal base that is also used in their newest camera stabiliser the Birdycam 2. The Birdycam 2 seems to tick most boxes a good camera stabiliser should. One of the most important things for many is the fact that it can be operated by a single person due to its simple follow-mode and thumb-joystick control. While it lacks some of the great features the Letus Helix offers, it is a more affordable and more available option for now. For those looking for an alternative to the famous Freefly Movi M5 the Varavon Birdycam 2 is looking quite interesting at almost half the price. It’s available for pre-order for $2375 and should start shipping quite soon: LINKRead more
There was a time when we laughed at the thought of DSLR cameras shooting professional video and challenging 35mm film. That time has passed. But today it seems we’re getting closer to the next shock, when mobile phones come into play. Here is a side by side video between the new OnePlus One phone and the Canon 5D mark III. Notice how well the phone reproduces the scene and how clean the image is, very much on-par with the 5D mark III, or even better. Furthermore the image of the OnePlus One video is a lot sharper than the 5D mark III, that is due to the fact that it records in 4K resolution and can on top of that shoot 120fps in 720p. With the right accessories maybe this phone could even become a GoPro replacement. Certainly one must point out that the phone’s sensor is a lot smaller than the one on the 5D mark III which both affects lowlight capabilities as well as limiting the depth-of-field to be very large, meaning there will not be any natural soft background which cinematographers love to use. The above video gives only a partial insight to what the phone can achieve as a video camera, limited to wide shots under perfect lighting conditions. It seems to cost $299 as the 16GB version which seems fairly affordable, both as a phone as well as a 4K pocket video camera. We can be curious to see where all this is going with the iPhone 6 announcement around the corner that is said to have an even better camera and rumors of lens mounting options. This is the first phone by startup company OnePlus. “One” is currently only available through an invite system. www.oneplus.net The videos were shot by filmmaker Giacomo Mantovani who says: The reason of this comparison is exclusively to discover how good is the OnePlus One camera in ideal light conditions, compared to a professional DSLR, nothing less nothing more. I wouldn’t use a phone for professional shooting, but for sure this is an incredible device for all filmmakers that want to be able to shoot something great on the go, when they don’t have their professional equipment in the bag.Read more
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